|Disclaimer: Paramount owns all things Star Trek Voyager. I don’t. Only borrowing
them. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Rating: NC 17. Kids go play elsewhere. Contains adult material.
Summary: When Kathryn refuses to trade technology, she and Chakotay are held
captive and subjected to brutal assaults. Dealing with the aftermath
almost destroys them. Is their new relationship strong enough?
WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC MATERIAL OF A VIOLENT AND SEXUAL NATURE
AND DIPICTS RAPE. IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY SUCH, PLEASE DO NOT READ ON.
LET NO MAN PUT ASUNDER.
by KAT LADY.
B’Elanna meanwhile had had enough. To hell with ethics. She couldn’t stand by any longer and watch two people she loved in this much pain. She was going to have it out with Chakotay once and for all so when he opened his door to her, he smiled and then frowned when he saw the look on her face. “B’Elanna, what’s the matter?” She stormed into his quarters.
“I don’t understand” he said.
B’Elanna sat down and motioned for him to sit beside her. He complied. He wasn’t sure what was wrong with her. “Chakotay, I… oh I know I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be talking about this. Ethics and all. I just couldn’t sit back any longer and watch this destruction. You and the Captain.”
Chakotay looked away from her. “She’s all right. The Doctor looked after her. She’s back on duty.”
“Chakotay, she very nearly died… that’s not what I mean anyway…”
Chakotay glanced at her. “It was just…women’s things…she’s all right…”
B’Elanna stared at him in disbelief. “It was not just ‘women’s things’ as you put it. Chakotay, she suffered a miscarriage. She almost bled to death.”
Chakotay gave her his attention now. “She was pregnant? She and I never… So she was seeing someone else. Great.”
B’Elanna wanted to smack him hard but held back. “You know she wasn’t seeing anyone else and you know how this happened so why didn’t you tell me?”
“Tell you what?” He looked genuinely puzzled.
“You know, I mean you told me about what happened to you. Why didn’t you tell me what happened to Kathryn?”
Chakotay just stared at her. “I did tell you. I told you she witnessed… everything…”
“Chakotay, that’s not what I mean. Have you really blocked it all out? I mean what happened to you both. What happened to her as well…” He just kept staring at her with a blank look. She pushed on. “Chakotay, you know. You just won’t admit it to yourself. Think. You know… she was… raped also…” She heard his sharp intake of breath.
Chakotay just sat there. There was a fog in his mind. Suddenly through it, he heard Kathryn’s screams. Wasn’t she screaming at them to stop what they were doing to him? Was it when they beat her or was it him? No, later.... there was..... what.... her voice.. “Take me instead…”
Where had that come from? Screams, almost primeval, struggling, laughter from Gaalot, still the screams, always the screams then the silence.. Later a hand touching him, crying..... He could still hear the screams, but couldn’t make them stop. He jumped suddenly when he felt someone touch him. He realized it was B’Elanna with a very worried look on her face. The only thing on Chakotay’s face was pure horror. “What have I done? What have I done? How could I have blocked that out? She needed me so much… the things I said… I pushed her away… I hurt her so much, oh spirits what have I done?” and he broke down in tears.
B’Elanna reached out for him and held him tightly as he unloaded all his repressed pain and sorrow. The images kept coming. Kathryn being slammed onto the table, tied down. Gaalot raping her, tearing at her flesh, ripping apart everything that had been the woman he loved, destroying it all. The brutal penetrations, twisting her over onto her stomach, endless torture and pain. How had she lived through it?
He knew she had done it to spare him and how had he repaid her? He had caused her more pain. The look on her face that night in his quarters but he had ignored her, turned away from her when she needed him more than any human being could ever need someone. She had been pregnant by that bastard. She had gone through all of this alone. He had failed her so completely. In one sense, he had destroyed more than Gaalot had. Finally he started to pull himself together. He had to see her. Would she ever want to see him again? He wouldn’t blame her if she kicked him off the ship at the next planet. How could she ever forgive him? “I have to go see her” he said quietly.
B’Elanna released her hold on him. “Go easy with her. You can both get through this. I know she still loves you. She wouldn’t hurt so much if she didn’t and I can see that you also still love her. That is the only solid ground you both need and you can build anything from that.”
He nodded slowly and got up. “I hope you’re right.”
After B’Elanna left, Chakotay sat for a while to collect himself. Finally he headed for his bathroom and washed his face. As he looked in the mirror, he realized that he had never hated the sight of his own reflection so much before. This was the ultimate bastard staring back at him. He made his way slowly to his door and hesitated a moment then he took a deep breath and said a small prayer to himself.
After several rings at Kathryn’s door with no answer, he asked the computer for her location. The computer informed him that she was in her quarters. Maybe she just didn’t want to see anyone but he knew that he had to do this now.
He used his security overrides and entered her quarters. There were no lights on and he wondered if she was asleep, if she was finally getting some rest. He noted how neat everything was by the dim light of the stars but still he ordered low lighting and looked around him.
On her desk he noticed several letters and padds beside her computer terminal. He also noticed that the top one was addressed to him. A puzzled look crossed his face and a strange feeling started in the pit of his stomach.
He walked towards her bedroom and found that here the lights were on low so he looked towards the bed and saw Kathryn lying there. She was indeed asleep and he slowly approached the bed and looked down at her. He looked closely at her face and could see the dried tear stains there. She had cried herself to sleep and he felt pain in his chest. What had he done to her? He then noticed the picture of him that she still held and his pain intensified. He had never hated himself more than he did at that moment. How could she still have feelings for him? She hadn’t even pulled a cover over herself. He noticed a blanket on the chair next to the bed and reached for it. He unfolded it and went to pull it over her sleeping form and as he did so, his hand brushed against her hand holding the picture of him. She was cold.
As he continued to pull the blanket over her, he noticed the hypospray in her other hand. So she needed sedatives to sleep. His fault again. He gently moved her arm and suddenly froze. There, lying on the bed under her arm were several other hyposprays. He checked them all. They were all empty.
“No…no…She couldn’t have, she couldn’t…”
He grabbed her roughly and started to shake her, fear running through him, as he called her name loudly. “Kathryn, please wake up, please, come on, please, don’t do this, please don’t have done this…”
He quickly felt for a pulse and for a horrifying few seconds couldn’t find one. Finally he felt something. It was a pulse but was so faint he was uncertain for a second if it was real. His training suddenly started to kick in and he called for an emergency transport to sickbay, alerting the doctor. He hoisted her up into his arms. “Don’t you dare die like this on me, Kathryn. Don’t you dare give up like this. You can’t let go like this.”
When Chakotay appeared in sickbay with the unconscious Kathryn in his arms, the Doctor was waiting for them. Chakotay quickly lay Kathryn down on one of the biobeds. The Doctor erected a security screen around the bed.
“She…I found her…four or five empty hypo sprays…she tried to…here, I brought them in case you need to know…” The look of pain and fear on Chakotay’s face was so evident but the Doctor seemed resigned.
“I had actually expected this, just not so soon. Perhaps the next day or so…” he said more to himself.
Chakotay stared at the Doctor in disbelief. “You suspected she would try this and you didn’t watch her. How could you…?”
The Doctor ignored him and started treatment on Kathryn. He then turned to Chakotay. “The treatment I have just administered is the first of three she would need in order to save her life, to bring her back. First however, we need to talk.” He walked towards his office. “Please Commander…”
A very shocked Chakotay went to follow him. Before he did, he looked back down at Kathryn. She looked so pale. He bent over to her and gently brushed his lips to hers. “I’m so sorry my love. I failed you completely.” He slowly followed the Doctor to his office, wiping his tears away as he went.
Once in the office, the Doctor gestured for Chakotay to sit. “Is she going to be all right?” Chakotay asked.
“Please” said the Doctor “there are some things I need to explain first. Yes, if I continue my treatment, she should recover.”
Chakotay was shocked. “Why on earth wouldn’t you continue the treatment? Are you mad?” He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“Please Commander, I need to talk to you. Please just listen.” Chakotay sat and the Doctor continued. “I take it you now know what happened to the Captain.”
“I blocked it all out. How could I have done that? The way I treated her. Yes, I remember everything. I even know about the miscarriage” he ashamedly told the Doctor.
“Ah, Ms. Torres” snorted the Hologram. “No matter. It’s better you know.” The Doctor went on to fill in any gaps in Chakotay’s knowledge of Kathryn’s medical condition after the rescue and about the miscarriage. He then told him about the toxin which had been released into her system and how despite his best efforts, he had been unable to find an antidote.
“So you see Commander, this is my dilemma. Do I bring her back only to have a few days more, with nothing but pain or do I, as she obviously wished, let her go.”
Chakotay sat in shock. His whole body seemed to be in pain. This pain was worse than any he had ever known, even worse than any beating. He was already suffering a beating. He was mentally beating himself up at this very moment. This was even worse than the rape. “I wasn’t there for her” repeated over and over in his head like a mantra. “I could have stopped all this. Had I been able for what happened to me, they wouldn’t have taken her. It’s all my fault.” He looked up at the Doctor. “There’s nothing…”
“No, I’m afraid not” the Doctor answered.
“And she would be in a lot of pain…” Chakotay couldn’t continue.
The Hologram seemed in pain himself. “The pain, I’m afraid, would be considerable. She was already starting to experience some. Of course she didn’t let on…”
Chakotay looked at the Doctor with tears running freely down his face. His next words would be the hardest he had ever spoken and they would live with him and haunt him for the rest of his days. “Let her go” he whispered.
The Doctor just nodded. “It is for the best, Commander. This is how she wished it. This is on her terms. It was the only control she had left.”
“Can I stay with her…until…” Chakotay sobbed.
“Of course” the Doctor said quietly.
“How long…” Chakotay couldn’t speak.
“An hour, two at the most. She will be comfortable. I’ll see to that but she won’t be conscious…”
The Doctor could hardly speak himself. This was the hardest thing he had ever done but he knew they were making the right decision. It was the last thing he could do for his Captain, his final gift to her. Dignity.
Chakotay sat with Kathryn, holding her hand and talking quietly to her, with tears streaming down his face. He poured his soul out to her, telling her how much he really loved her, begging her forgiveness. He made many promises, most of which he knew he would now never have a change to fulfil. “I will see you again some day, my love” he told her. “I want nothing more than to follow you right now, but I know you would not want that, however I’ll exist for you. I won’t be living but I will exist. I’ll exist to get this crew home because I know that means so much to you. I promise I’ll do that for you but after that I can’t make any promises.” He tenderly stroked her face.
After about an hour, the Doctor again appeared. He checked Kathryn’s monitors and scans then slowly closed his tricorder. There was a look of great sadness on his face. Chakotay looked up at him. “Her vital signs are slowing down. It won’t be long now…”
“I’ll be with her… I wasn’t with her when she needed me. I will be here with her now… at the end…”
Chakotay lay his head down against her and the Doctor left, wishing he could delete this from his memory. Not the knowing of Kathryn Janeway, her courage, strength and compassion, but just how it had all ended. She deserved better than this. He knew his program could only be enriched from having known this woman but she deserved to die in her own bed, on Earth, many years from now with a loving family around her, not like this. She did have someone who loved her with her at the end, but she wasn’t even aware of that.
Chakotay looked up into Kathryn’s face, then he got up onto the biobed with her and cradled her in his arms. “You couldn’t live in my arms my love, but you will die in them…” He buried his face in her hair and sobbed like a baby. “I love you so much, my Kathryn…” and he pulled her tighter to him. The scent of her hair filled his nostrils and he knew it would stay with him forever. “I’m so sorry…”
There was a part of him that wished he could have asked the Doctor to bring Kathryn back just for a while so he could tell her everything, say sorry, try to atone, but he knew that he would be only doing that to help his own guilt. He would be doing it for himself and not for her.
Chakotay was suddenly aware of the Doctor scanning Kathryn again. “Is it time? No, please just a little longer, please don’t let her go yet…” He looked up at the Doctor who was trying to take readings on his tricorder.
“Please Commander, could you get down for just a minute…”
“What is it, what’s wrong?” Chakotay asked.
“I… I’m not sure…I…” the Doctor looked puzzled.
“Doctor, please…” Chakotay was getting more and more upset.
“I don’t understand this… her vital signs… they…”
Chakotay wanted to grab the Hologram. “What?” He almost roared.
“Her vital signs…they are…getting strong again. I’m still detecting the toxin but it seems to be at much smaller levels…I don’t understand, there was no antidote…”
Chakotay couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Are you saying she’s recovering?” he asked almost against hope.
“I don’t know Commander, but something is happening. It’s possible… that couldn’t be… maybe…”
“Maybe what? What couldn’t be?” Chakotay said.
“The only thing I can think of is that the drugs the Captain took and the first treatment I gave her, have somehow acted as an antidote. There is just no other explanation. Look, the toxin levels are still dropping. Something is working against it.” He showed the tricorder to Chakotay who didn’t understand the readings but believed the Doctor. It was all he wanted to believe.
Over the next few hours, the toxin levels in Kathryn’s system continued to drop. The doctor was constantly monitoring her. He simply could not believe what was happening. Chakotay continued to sit beside her and talk quietly to her, telling her to fight.
By next morning all traces of the toxin were gone from her system but she was still unconscious. The Doctor explained that she could be unconscious for some time, as her body still had to deal with the overdose and the amount of drugs which had been in her system but he expected her to fully recover now. Chakotay knew he had been given a second chance and there was no way he would waste it. Even if Kathryn never spoke with him again, he would still be happy. He didn’t deserve this woman anyway. He had brought his medicine wheel to sickbay and it hung over her bed.
During the next two days, as Kathryn lay unconscious fighting to recover, he sat there the whole time, talking softly to her. He only ate when B’Elanna brought him food. She took her turns talking to Kathryn but she still got a dressing down from the doctor for ignoring ethics and a lecture on the importance of them. At the end of his little speech, he smiled at her and patted her on the shoulder. “It worked well in this case Ms. Torres, just don’t let it happen again.” With a smile he walked away.
Chakotay hardly slept. He dozed occasionally, his head in Kathryn’s lap. He was just waking up that evening and looked up into Kathryn’s face. He stroked her hair back. Suddenly he was looking into two pools of blue. There was a look of confusion in her eyes and he could see her trying to work things out, then he saw the change in her eyes as everything fell into place and she realized where she was. Panic crossed her eyes as she looked at him and with a hoarse voice she spoke. “Where’s the Doctor?”
“It’s all right, I’ll get him” Chakotay said. He called for the Doctor and then asked her how she was feeling but she couldn’t meet his eyes, turning her head away as tears rolled down her cheeks. The EMH appeared. “Well Captain, how are you feeling?” he asked, as he scanned her.
“In private, please Doctor” she whispered.
“Of course, Captain. Commander, please…”
Chakotay stepped back and went towards the Doctor’s office. He could hardly have expected everything to be perfect when she awoke. He could hear Kathryn talking to the Doctor, almost trying to shout, but she didn’t have the strength.
“Why, why did you bring me back? Could you not have just let me go, let me die? I can’t face the pain. There’s just too much of it. I lost so much… why not just let me go…please? I beg you…give me something…anything…” The effort of speaking was too much. She lay back and closed her eyes. “Just let me die…please.” Her tears continued.
“Captain, you don’t understand…”
“No I don’t…” she tried to shout at him. “I know it goes against what you believe, but it was my choice. There was nothing else I could do…I arranged everything… there was nothing left… there was no one left for me…” her voice trailed off and her sobbing replaced it.
At this point, Chakotay appeared beside her. “Please Chakotay, just let me be…” she sobbed.
“No, I won’t. You will listen. You are not going to die. I know you think you are but you’re not. We don’t understand it but what you took and the Doctor’s treatment together seems to have acted as an antidote to the toxin. There is no toxin left in your system. We were going to let you go. It broke my heart to do that but I respected your wishes. You were dying but all of a sudden, you started to respond. That was two days ago but you are going to be all right now” he smiled down at her and took her hand. Kathryn weakly pulled her hand from his.
“I will never be all right again. How can you even touch me? If you know about the toxin, you know how it got there. Leave me alone Chakotay. What do you want from me? You made yourself clear. You could never love a ruin. Your words. So how can you even look at me now? You couldn’t look at me since then. Nothing’s changed. Just leave me alone.” All this came out in a breathless rush and fresh tears escaped her eyes as she turned her head away from him. Chakotay asked the Doctor if they could be alone. He nodded and left.
Chakotay reached over and pulled Kathryn’s head towards him but she wouldn’t look at him. “You can refuse to look at me. Fine. You will however, hear me out.” She struggled weakly against him but there was little strength in her struggle.
“I have to learn to forgive myself for what I’ve done to you. I don’t know if I can do that on my own. I had blocked out everything. I remembered what had happened to me. I remembered the beatings. What happened after that… to you…I blocked that out. There was only one thing in my mind after what happened. That was that you would never want me again, could never look at me, that I would disgust you, that what we had was spoiled and dirty. How could I come to you after that? The images would always be there for you. I was the ruin I was talking about, not you.” He blinked back his own tears.
“Kathryn, I love you so much. I felt that if I rejected you, you would be better off, that you would meet another man, a whole and complete man. How you obviously feel about yourself, I also felt that way. I really had shut it out. I saw how ill you were, saw what was happening to you, what I was doing to you. I just wouldn’t or couldn’t accept it. I thought if I turned away from you, you would be better off. B’Elanna, well she knows, I talked with her about me and she was the one who helped treat you, well she came to me and she asked me if I would love you less if it had happened to you instead of me. We didn’t know about you at this stage. I told her it wouldn’t matter at all and I meant that. I just thought you deserved more than what I was. She was the one who made me remember everything.” Chakotay continued squeezing her hand.
“I was coming to you and then I found you unconscious. Can you understand any of this? I’ve been sitting here for days thinking of nothing else and about how much I love you and hate myself.” He looked deeply into her eyes. They were awash with tears.
“You hurt me very badly Chakotay” she sobbed. “When I needed you most, you weren’t there for me. All I wanted was to help you through it all and have you help me, but you just turned me away.”
“I know that, love, I know that. I’ll never forgive myself for that. I also know that we have a long road to travel but maybe with time, maybe we can heal and maybe we can heal together.” Kathryn looked away from him.
“I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore. I can’t even think straight right now.” She tried to turn her head away from him again, but he wouldn’t let her.
“Kathryn” he said, taking her face in his hands “I can never forgive myself for not being there for you. It tears me up that you felt your only choice was to kill yourself, that you weren’t able to come to me, that I wasn’t there for you, but that is my burden. What happened pales into insignificance compared to the pain I feel, knowing what I did to you. I really was so afraid that you wouldn’t ever want me after all that.”
The tears were running down his face now and Kathryn looked at him. “You felt that way yet you still can’t understand how I feel the same. How I feel that you could never want me after what happened, how you must blame me for it all, for not listening to you. He made me pregnant, Chakotay, do you have any idea of what that did to me. If I ever wanted to be pregnant, it was to be with you but he stole that from me, from us. Nothing will ever be the same again. I’ll always feel dirty. Those memories won’t ever go away. He didn’t just take my body; he took everything else along with it. Sex, a baby, all that, it should have been you. That’s all gone now. Why don’t you just say how much you hate me?” Kathryn’s face was awash with her tears. “ The damage.... I’ll probably never be able to...I don’t know if we could ever even be able to be together physically, not just because of the physical damage he did, but the emotional. I just don’t know. I just wish you hadn’t found me. Nothing has changed there.” She pulled her head away from his hands.
“I don’t hate you, I never could. I love you. Somehow Kathryn, I promise we will get past this. I don’t know how either but we will. This was not your fault and you have to believe that. I only want you back. I don’t care if there are never any children. I don’t even care if there is never anything physical. I love you. That’s all that’s important. I want to be there for you. I did a terrible thing to you by shutting you out and by not being there for you and all I can do is beg your forgiveness and ask you to give us time… even just to be friends again. I promise on my life Kathryn, I will always be there for you from now on. I know you won’t believe that but please, let me try. Give our friendship a chance at least. Please Kathryn, please, I beg you…”
Finally she looked around at him. “I don’t know, Chakotay, please I’m tired…”
“All right love, you get some sleep.” He reached out to touch her cheek, but she just turned her head away and closed her eyes. Chakotay turned to the door. As it closed behind him, he looked back to see Kathryn’s hands covering her face, her tiny body shaking with sobs.
When Chakotay returned to his quarters he broke down. He fell to the floor and sobbed his heart out. Whoever said men shouldn’t cry, that it was weak, had obviously never hurt as badly as he did right now. When he calmed himself a little, he called B’Elanna. The last thing he wanted was to be alone. She was there in five minutes and she sat patiently with him as he poured everything out. She was shocked at the pain she was witnessing in her old friend and regretted not having gone to Kathryn herself before all this. Those damn ethics. Thankfully she hadn’t stuck to them fully. A shiver of fear ran up her spine when she thought how close Kathryn had come to dying by her own hand but then again, had she not done that, she would be dead in a day or so anyway. Life could be very strange. Trying to kill herself had saved her life.
B’Elanna sat with Chakotay for a few hours. She told him of her friend at the Academy and how she had been with her and how she thought it best to deal with Kathryn. “The fact that both of you know the pain of what happened, that you’ve both been through the same thing, well, I know that doesn’t make it easier to deal with individually but together…”
Chakotay looked at her. “B’Elanna, I remember it all now, what that bastard did to her…” His tears started again. “I just want to kill them”.
B’Elanna didn’t know what to say. Should she tell him? “Chakotay, how to tell you this…this is off the record OK?”
He looked at her. “What?”
“After…after you and Kathryn were beamed to sickbay and what had happened became obvious, you understand I only knew you were both beaten, but Tuvok knew everything that had happened. Well… he asked me and Tom to go to the surface with him in a shuttle. With the use of some clever tactics, we got there unnoticed. Anyway, we discovered that Hatar and Gaalot were acting alone. I think Gaalot was trying to get technology to curry favours with his government. However, Tuvok told us to wait for him and when he came back he just said that everything had been taken care of, that Hatar and Gaalot would never touch anyone again.” B’Elanna drew in a deep breath. “Chakotay, they’re both dead. I don’t know if that helps you or if it will help Kathryn, but I thought you should know. If you ask Tuvok he will probably deny it and there is no record of us ever having left the ship. He swore us to secrecy, so please, I didn’t tell you. Boy, it’s my week for breaking secrets.” She smiled gently at him.
He was shocked but revenge and the need for it kicked in quickly. “No, you were right to tell me. I’m glad they’re dead. Yes, it helps. It helps a lot”.
Next morning, Chakotay went to sickbay to see Kathryn. He was unsure if she would want to see him. When he went over to her, she was sleeping, so he just sat there. The Doctor informed him that he had sedated her during the night, quite heavily, due to the nightmares she had been having. Chakotay continued to sit and watch her. He stroked her hand all the time.
When he eventually felt her stir, he removed his hand. One step at a time. She opened her eyes slowly and looked at him but she was still groggy from the sedative. He said nothing, just looked down at his hands, but he could feel her look at him and he eventually met her eyes. She looked away quickly. He decided she needed to know about Hatar and Gaalot and he told her that they were both dead, that they had been killed. She showed no emotion and just one word passed her lips. “Good.” She didn’t ask how it had happened or how he knew about it. Eventually she closed her eyes and drifted back to sleep. Chakotay sat with her a while longer, then reported for his duty shift.
When he returned later, she was awake and again he just sat beside her, saying nothing. She didn’t attempt to talk to him either but just lay there with her thoughts. Eventually, he stood up to leave. “I’ll see you in the morning, Kathryn” was all he said and turned to leave. She didn’t try to stop him.
This continued for the next two days. She was at least eating something, the Doctor making sure of that. The next day, the Doctor agreed to let Kathryn return to her quarters. Chakotay thought it was too soon. “What about when, not if, but when she has another nightmare” he asked the Doctor. The Doctor suggested that it might be better if Chakotay went to her in that case. Chakotay wasn’t too sure but decided the Doctor probably knew best.
Later that night, Chakotay got a frantic call from the Doctor to say that Kathryn was in the throes of a terrible nightmare. Chakotay didn’t need the Doctor to tell him that as he could hear her screams through the wall. It hurt him deeply. They were the same screams he heard in his own memories and nightmares. He rushed to her quarters, using his security override and ran to her bedroom. He stopped dead for a minute. She was thrashing about in her bed and still screaming, her body drenched with sweat. He ran over to her and tried to waken her. It took a few minutes but eventually she opened her eyes and the sight of them shocked him to the core. They were wild. He had never seen such pain and terror in anyone’s eyes before. He held her firmly as she thrashed about and tried to soothe her with gentle words. “Shh Kathryn, it’s me. It’s over. You’re safe.”
It took some time for her to register his presence but she eventually stilled. Her cries and tears continued and eventually she let him hold her. Soon all that was left was her tears and they tore at his heart. She finally leaned into him and gripped him fiercely, her nails digging into him but he felt no pain from them, all his pain being internal. He continued to hold her firmly and rubbed her back until her tears eventually eased. She pulled back a little and rubbed at her face. She looked up at him briefly and eventually spoke through her sniffles. “Thank you. I’m sorry if I woke you.”
“Kathryn, don’t ever apologize to me, please. I told you I want to be here for you and I will be. Come on, let me get you some water.” He went to move away from her to get the water and she reached for him briefly then caught herself. “I’ll be right back, I promise” he told her. She just nodded.
When he returned with the water, she seemed a little calmer. She drank greedily, spilling some on the bed.
“It’s all right. I’ll clean that up. More?”
She shook her head. “There’s no need to clean that, I don’t want to go back to sleep.”
He understood. “I’ll clean it up anyway. Come on, sit in the chair.”
She allowed him to lead her to the chair and wrap her robe around her shoulders and then she watched quietly as he changed her sheets and cleaned up the spilled water. “Would you like to sit outside for a while? Perhaps a drink of hot chocolate or something?” She just nodded and again let him lead her.
While she sat sipping her drink, he said nothing. “I really meant it” she said, breaking the silence, “thank you.”
“That’s all right, Kathryn” he told her, afraid of how much or what to say to her. Their silence continued for a while.
“This will pass, Kathryn” he told her gently. “Just let me be there to help. We can actually help each other”
“I know” she answered, “I’m not trying to punish you, please believe that. I don’t know why I’m this way”
“We’re both this way and we both know why, but we will come out the other side, I promise.”
She hesitantly leaned against him and he put his arm around her shoulders and they stayed like that. It was a first positive step. Eventually he looked down and realized that she had fallen asleep. She seemed to be sleeping soundly for once and Chakotay stayed that way for the rest of the night. Nothing would make him disturb her.
When Kathryn awoke the next morning, it took her a minute to get her bearings. She looked up into Chakotay’s eyes and he smiled gently at her. “You slept well after the hot chocolate” he told her.
“You obviously didn’t sleep at all. I’m sorry, Chakotay.”
“Kathryn, you have to stop apologizing to me please” he told her gently.
“I’m sorry…” then she realized and gave him the first faint smile he had seen from her since this all started. It made his heart soar to see it. Step two.
As they were both off duty that day, Chakotay suggested he get breakfast for them both. Kathryn silently agreed, barely nodding. They ate in silence, Kathryn barely touching her food. As Chakotay cleared everything away, he noticed that the letters and padds still lay on her desk. She saw him look at them with pain in his eyes and simply crossed over to her desk and picked them up, meeting his eyes. “I’ll just put these away” she said simply. He nodded, but said nothing.
They were awkward with each other. Chakotay didn’t want to leave her but figured she might need some time to herself and he didn’t want to rush things. He suggested they met again for lunch. “Maybe not in the mess hall though” he said “how about my quarters?”
She seemed to think about this for a minute then agreed.
Kathryn arrived at Chakotay’s quarters about ten minutes late but he made no mention of it and neither did she. They were silent again as they slowly ate their lunch and when everything had been cleared away, Chakotay brought Kathryn a coffee, which she sipped at slowly. Even coffee seemed to have lost its enjoyment for her. Finally he looked her in the eyes and spoke gently. “Kathryn, if you need to talk…”
She looked down at her cup. “Yes, I suppose we should…”
He said nothing, leaving it up to her if she wanted to continue. She eventually took a deep breath and looked at him, then away again.
“You must think I was handling things very well…just after… I wasn’t you know…what was getting me through was the fact that I felt there was someone else who needed me, that you needed me, needed my help to deal with things also. As long as I felt I had someone else to concentrate on, someone who needed me, it helped me deal better with it all…but then you didn’t want to know…” She looked up at him and saw the hurt and pain in his eyes
“Chakotay, I’m not saying this to make you feel bad, to punish you…I’m not blaming you, please believe that…I’m the one who’s to blame. If only I had listened to you…”
He reached out hesitantly and took her hand in his, afraid she would pull away. She didn’t.
“Kathryn, you are not to blame for any of this and you have to believe that before we go anywhere. There is no blame here with either of us, except me not being there for you but we have to move forward, not stay in the past. I’m only just learning this. I feel better able to deal with it all now that I feel I can help you, now that I have you to concentrate on. Feeling that I can help you, be there for you now, a bit late I know, but being able to do that, is helping me deal with it all better.” He smiled gently at her.
“Tell me we can get through this together please. That you will let me help. I want you to help me. I need you. I need you to help me. I know I can’t make it without you.” He looked at her with such helplessness in his eyes.
She gave him a slight smile. “How many times I wanted to hear you say that, to say that you needed me…”
“I know Kathryn, I know, and I will never be able to say sorry enough to you, but I’m saying it now. I’m sorry and I need you and I beg your forgiveness. I also have to tell you I love you.”
She looked at him a long time. She held his hand a little tighter. “Chakotay, you don’t have to keep saying sorry either. I do forgive you, I really do. I understand how you blocked things out and that you thought you were doing the right thing. As I said, I’m not trying to punish you but I do need you to know how I felt. Do you understand? A part of me will always feel responsible for all this but I also know we can’t move forward with things like that hanging over us. Can we forgive each other, please? Can you understand this?”
“I do understand love, I do and please know I don’t blame you and I’m trying not to blame myself. We’ll leave all that behind us where it belongs. As long I can try and forgive myself and you try and forgive yourself, we’ll make it.” He took her other hand. “Just tell me we can get through this together. That not everything was destroyed.”
“A lot was destroyed Chakotay, but yes, I do believe we can get through this. I have to believe that. I don’t know if things will ever be the same, but we can try. It probably sounds selfish, but it feels good to hear you say you need me. I need you too, and yes I love you too.”
Chakotay had never thought to feel good again, but at this moment he felt hope. “We’ll make it love, we will” he told her. Not wanting to push things, he asked her for something that he felt would help them both.
“Can I hug you? I know I sure need one.”
She nodded her consent and leaned into him. His arms went around her. “She is so thin” he thought to himself. “She was always so thin, but now…how could she survive having lost so much weight.”
Aloud he said “we’re going to have to fatten you up a bit.”
He felt her smile and they stayed that way for a long time. Step three.
There was still a long way to go, a long road ahead and Chakotay and Kathryn both knew that this road would be rough before it could ever be smooth again but they were at least on that road. During the next few weeks, they both had their good times and their bad times. Fortunately the bad times never coincided and one was always there for the other. Neither pushed the other away either. A few times, Kathryn would come to Chakotay at night when she heard him cry out in his sleep and he always came running when it was her who screamed out in the night. They were always there for each other when the memories and the images would suddenly assault them with no warning.
On one occasion, Kathryn found Chakotay in the mess hall in the middle of the night. He appeared to be sleep walking and was just standing in the middle of the floor, shaking from head to toe. As she gently led him back to bed, he had woken up and nearly hit her, before he realized what was happening. On another occasion, it was Chakotay who found Kathryn curled in a tight ball in the aeroponics bay, crying uncontrollably. She seemed to be reliving everything and it took Chakotay almost twenty minutes to bring her back.
Slowly over the next two months, their nightmares and flashbacks decreased but did not disappear completely. The Doctor had finally declared Kathryn completely fit and was happy to tell her that ‘all’ her injuries were completely healed. He gently told her that should she wish to ever have ‘relations’ again, everything would be physically fine. Children would also not be a problem with the right medical care.
Kathryn had thanked him for everything and for being so ‘delicate’ in the way he spoke with her. She was uncertain if she would ever be able to, in her mind, be a complete woman again and she was also unsure as to how Chakotay would cope. As for children... B’Elanna had spoken with them both together. She had told them about her friend at the Academy and that she believed the best way to beat something like this was to ‘not let the bastards win’.
“Claim your lives back” she told them. “You only stay a victim if you let yourself.”
Chakotay and Kathryn smiled at each other after B’Elanna had left after telling them that.
“That girl has a head of sense for one so young” Kathryn had told Chakotay.
“Maquis training” he had answered her with a smile.
About a week later, Kathryn and Chakotay were lying back on her sofa after a well-earned dinner. They had both just finished long shifts and were both tired but they felt very comfortable like this now, just lying against each other. Neither had tried to take things any further.
Kathryn sighed and leaned further into Chakotay. He tightened his arms around her but neither seemed really aware of it. Kathryn turned her head and looked up at Chakotay to say something and found herself looking into his eyes.
She had not realized how close they were. Suddenly her words were forgotten as his eyes met hers at such close quarters. Neither moved for a full minute and then in unison they both closed the small gap between them. Their lips brushed and they halted, waiting to see how the other would react.
When there was no reaction from either of them, they closed the gap again, still their lips only brushed and when they pulled back this time, their eyes met. Kathryn softly whispered to Chakotay. “I’m not afraid, if you’re not.”
“Neither of us should be afraid as long as the other is there” he whispered back.
Kathryn nodded at him. “Chakotay, we have to claim our lives back.”
“I know love. I know. We’ll take this slowly OK?”
She nodded at him again and leaned back to him. This time the kiss was a little deeper. They both remembered how things had been before. When they pulled apart, Kathryn asked him a question.
“Is this a new beginning or a continuation?”
“Both” he answered “it’s whatever we want it to be and it’s ours and ours alone. No one else can touch this or take it away from us. In time, we’ll erase the bad memories and create our own good ones. We’ll purge the past and exorcise the ghosts”. He pulled her tighter to him and they fell asleep like that and neither woke that night. The nightmares seemed to know to stay away.
Over the next few nights, they stayed together, either in Kathryn’s quarters or in Chakotay’s. They never went further than kissing and holding each other but they always fell asleep in each other’s arms. Occasionally, one of them would waken with a nightmare, but the other was always right there with open arms to take it away and they would fall asleep again quickly, secure in the knowledge that they were safe in each other’s arms.
This learning was slow but it was sound and there was never any need for words during their comforting of each other. They both knew exactly what the other was feeling.
Without actually speaking of it, they also both just knew one night that the time had come to trust themselves to life again. They each knew that they wouldn’t let the other fall and that if they felt themselves slipping, the other would be there to catch them.
They had shared a quiet dinner and were lying back on Kathryn’s sofa as they did most nights. In no time at all, they were kissing and this time, their kiss was deeper than usual. Kathryn felt Chakotay’s arms around her and then felt his hand slip into her hair. Her own hands went around his neck and she caressed his neck and hair. Chakotay’s other hand was gently rubbing her back.
When they slowly pulled back and looked at each other, what they both saw in each other’s eyes was desire. Very softly Chakotay whispered to Kathryn. “Are you sure love? There’s no hurry. We don’t have to do this. Not now. Not ever if we’re unsure.”
“We do have to do this Chakotay” she whispered back “Not now, if we’re not ready, but we do have to do this. Remember, we have to claim back our lives. I don’t just want us to do this because of that though. I also want us to do this because we want to and because we love each other. I know we are both scared, but we are also there for each other.”
His hands cupped her face. “I love you Kathryn, you know that. If you’re ready, so am I.”
She brought her hands up to cup his face also and whispered to him. “Chakotay, I love you too. The same goes for me. I’m ready if you are. We can always stop if we want to. If we feel that it’s too much.”
He leaned a little closer to her. “Yes we can, my love.”
They stood up together and slowly walked into Kathryn’s bedroom, then they stood facing each other. Gently they kissed again and this kiss was deeper still and they both felt desire building. This was what sex was really about. It was about two people who loved, trusted and respected each other and they both felt that they were re-inventing it, that this was new and pure. This in fact was not going to be sex but about making love. As their kiss deepened, their arms made their way around each other. Kathryn opened her mouth a little more to him and let his tongue slowly enter her mouth, just as hers entered his. They explored each other’s mouths, tasting each other deeply, as if for the first time. This really was a new dawning for them both and Chakotay ran his fingers through her soft hair and massaged her neck with his thumbs causing Kathryn to moan softly into his mouth. She let her hands move to his upper arms and then across his chest and felt him moan also. Finally they stood back from each other, both still checking each other’s eyes for signs that it was all right to continue. All they saw was love and desire. Kathryn reached out to undo the buttons on Chakotay’s shirt and then ran her hands over his broad chest. She leaned into him again and felt him slowly lower the zip at the back of her dress.
Ever so slowly they undressed each other until finally they stood before each other naked. They allowed each other time to look and admire and then at the same time, they reached for each other. They stood there stroking each other gently, taking in each other’s tastes and scents, she running her hands up and down his back and around his chest. Chakotay ran his hands up and down her back and then stroked her neck and then gently, so gently caressed her breasts. Kathryn caught her breath and Chakotay stilled for a moment, unsure if she was still sensitive there from her injuries or if this was causing her bad memories. He looked into her eyes and she smiled back at him, silently telling him she was fine. He continued his attention on her breasts, gently teasing her nipples. They hardened quickly under his soft touch.
Suddenly Kathryn backed away and Chakotay looked up into her face, afraid he had frightened her, but she was still smiling. She held out her hand, which he took and she led him to the bed. She noticed his own growing arousal and reached down with her other hand to stroke him. He leaned his head back a moment and moaned softly then reached his arms around Kathryn and gently lowered her back onto the bed, following her down. “Anytime you want to stop love, just tell me, OK?” he whispered.
“I know” she answered “and you too.”
They kissed again and this time there was actual passion in the kiss. Chakotay kissed his way all around her face and then along her cheekbones. He continued kissing down her neck and along her collarbones, finally arriving at her breasts. Ever so slowly, he flicked his tongue across one of her nipples, which brought a gasp from Kathryn. He moved to her other nipple and gently suckled there, teasing the other with his thumb and index finger. Kathryn moaned deeply, running her hands up and down his back and caressing every inch of him she could reach. He continued giving his full attention to her breasts for some time then moved back up to kiss her again. He kept his weight on his elbows, afraid of frightening her, but she pulled him over her, deepening the kiss yet more.
Kathryn rolled him over onto his back and he thought for a minute she was having doubts but she just lowered her head and starting laying small kisses all over his chest and stomach. After a few minutes of this, he eased her back up to him and stared deeply into her eyes. He kissed her again and rolled her back over, without breaking the kiss.
He worked his way down to her breasts again and then continued slowly down to her stomach. He flicked his tongue around her belly button, bringing little gasps from Kathryn. Ever so slowly, he continued downwards.
This would be a test for her. She felt him nuzzle his mouth and nose against her curls and arched her back a little. Chakotay slowly flipped his tongue against her folds and heard Kathryn catch her breath. He looked up at her with a question in his eyes but she smiled back at him. “I’m fine love” she whispered “as long as I’m with you, I’m fine”.
Chakotay continued, ever so slowly parting her thighs. He was painfully aware of every move he made. Nothing they would do would mimic what had happened to him exactly, but everything was going to remind her in some way. His fingers gently stroked her thighs, paying particular attention to her inner thighs. Finally he moved his fingers up to slowly part her outer folds. When he glanced up at her, she had her eyes closed and her mouth was slightly open. Ever so slowly he gently licked across her clitoris, back and forth, which caused Kathryn to moan deeply. He continued this, gently nipping, sucking and blowing on her. Kathryn could hardly keep still. She could feel the beginnings of delicious tremors in the pit of her stomach. “Chakotay…” she gasped “that feels so good…”
He smiled to himself and continued. He was afraid of how far he should go with her. Testing gently, he ran his tongue around her entrance and then slightly inside. She continued to moan and squirm under him, little gasps coming from her. He then pushed his tongue inside her and massaged her. Kathryn’s groans grew louder. He then replaced his tongue with one finger, very slowly.
“I’m not hurting you, am I? I’m not going to far or too fast, am I love?”
She looked down at him with glazed eyes. “No, love, you’re not. I trust you completely.”
He lowered his mouth to her again and kissed and sucked her until she began to buck against him. At this stage, he added a second finger and thrust the two in and out of her as gently as he could. Kathryn moaned so loudly now, she was sure someone in the corridor would hear her. She could feel a tidal wave approach, higher and higher and then suddenly it crashed down on her. She had never felt a climax like this before as one ingredient had always been missing. That was the love she had for this man and the sure knowledge of the love he had for her. Kathryn lay trembling for several minutes after, feeling Chakotay gently stroking her thighs while she recovered. She eventually leaned down to him and rolled him onto his back. She kissed her way down to his by now rock hard penis and flicked her tongue back and forward around his thick shaft and across the tip, one hand gently massaging his scrotum. It was Chakotay’s turn to moan loudly. The feel of her tongue on him was exquisite. Kathryn was careful not to let her hand get too near his anus; for fear that he might still be physically or emotionally sensitive. His moans assured her he was all right so far. Finally he could stand it no longer, this sweet torture, and he rolled Kathryn back. He again looked deeply into her eyes.
“We can stop at this point, if it’s too much… I know we have to get past what happened but we also have plenty of time. I couldn’t believe I would ever be desirable to a woman again or that I would ever feel a complete man again, but with you and knowing what we have…well I do…” He smiled softly at her. She smiled back.
“Chakotay, I want to continue. I want you and I need you. Plain and simple, I desire you. I also want to feel desirable as a woman again and to know that you would still want me…” her voice trailed off.
“Kathryn, my love, I have always wanted and desired you. Nothing, nothing could ever change that.”
“Then make love to me Chakotay, please” she whispered.
In answer, he covered her mouth with his, their tongues dancing. She pulled him over her and spread her thighs wide for him.
“I’m so afraid of hurting you…” he said. “Promise you’ll say if I do…”
She just leaned her head up and kissed him deeply until he groaned again. “I promise” she whispered.
She felt the tip of his arousal at her entrance and felt him hesitate. She moaned. Ever so slowly he entered her, inch by delicious inch, filling her. She felt no discomfort, only fulfilment and a feeling of finally being home. She continued to moan loudly. “Yes, yes, oh God, Chakotay, yes…”
Chakotay also felt as if he had finally come home. She was tight and so wet with desire for him and he knew this was something no woman could fake. He withdraw slowly and then re-entered her, setting a slow pace. As he continued his slow thrusts, they locked eyes. The love and desire in both their eyes was so evident, it could have been captured on a holoimage. Kathryn locked her ankles around his back, trying to pull him deeper inside her. Chakotay’s thrusts became more urgent and he could feel his climax approach, but wanted to hold back. He wanted Kathryn to come with him. This was a journey they had to make together.
Kathryn felt her own climax fast approaching and cried out softly. She was matching him thrust for thrust and they never broke eye contact. Kathryn had never climaxed like this before, just from penetration and suddenly they both knew they were on the brink. Chakotay quickened his pace and the most exquisite climax either had ever known broke around them, causing them both to see sparkles before their eyes. They both cried out each other’s names at the same moment and watched amazed as they could see each others pupils dilate from the pure joy of it all. This was something else that could never be faked. They lay in each other’s arms in silence for a long time after, just stroking each other. There was perfect peace between them, both feeling as if they had been reborn. Finally Kathryn looked into Chakotay’s eyes. “Thank you” she mouthed to him.
“Thank you too love” he mouthed back.
“Chakotay, I love you so much” she added. He hugged her tighter.
“I love you Kathryn” he answered.
They fell into the most peaceful sleep either had ever known, as the stars silently watched. Somewhere the angels were probably rejoicing.
Two months later, the crew of Voyager gathered to celebrate the marriage of their Captain to their First Officer. Tuvok had performed the ceremony and actually smiled throughout. As they shared their first kiss as husband and wife, B’Elanna actually saw a tear escape down the Vulcan’s cheek. There was a multitude of tears running down her cheeks. There was in fact, not a dry eye in the place and when they finally broke the kiss and turned to face their crew, the loudest cheer Voyager would ever know went up. Even getting home couldn’t match this. The happy couple spent a glorious few days honeymoon on the holosuite. Chakotay had programmed in New Earth and everything was perfect.
A week or so after their return to duty, Chakotay noticed Kathryn was a little pale and seemed preoccupied. When he questioned her about it, she passed it off as a bad headache but when her paleness continued and she seemed tired all the time, he questioned her again. She again passed it off, but promised she would see the Doctor. The following morning, Chakotay found Kathryn in their bathroom on her knees, being sick. He said nothing, just helped her clean up and then gently led her into the bedroom, where he sat her on the bed and quietly asked her to please tell him what was wrong. She started crying and he held her until her tears had passed.
“Come on, Kathryn, please tell me what’s wrong. You haven’t been well for some time now, at least the past week. Have you seen the Doctor?” She shook her head. “Why not? Kathryn you have to go see him, please.”
“I…I…don’t need to see him Chakotay” she looked up at him through her tears. “I know what’s wrong and you won’t be able to take it. I don’t know what to do. I’m so scared. It just brings it back…” She couldn’t continue. He gently put his arm around her.
“Kathryn, I can take anything. We can take anything. If you’re having flashbacks again, we can deal with them. There’s no need to be scared. I’m here for you, always. You know that. What are you so afraid of?”
She looked away for a second, then back at him. In a trembling voice, she told him. “I…I think I’m pregnant…”
Chakotay looked at her with amazement in his eyes then quickly pulled her to him in a bear hug. “Kathryn, that’s wonderful. Nothing could be better…” He pulled back to look at her “You don’t want this?” then suddenly realized. “Oh Gods, Kathryn, I’m sorry, forgive me, I understand, I’m sorry. This must be so painful for you, but Kathryn, this is our child. It will be born out of love, pure love and we’ll deal with the bad memories together, just like we did before, however if you don’t want to do this, I will understand, I promise.” He pulled her to him again and kissed the side of her face.
Kathryn pulled backed to look at him this time. “Chakotay, please understand. I know this is our child. There is only goodness here. Yes, it reminds me but I can deal with that. I was just scared about how you would feel. This should have been my first pregnancy. With you. I was afraid you might… I don’t know what I was afraid you might feel… She lowered her head.
He put a finger under her chin and gently lifted her face to him. “Kathryn, how can I explain this to you? The way I see it is like this. This is our first child. My first and your first. What happened before can only come back as part of our lives if we let it. If we don’t let it, then it never happened. It has nothing to do with us. I have to tell you, I want our child more than anything, but if you can’t …I’ll understand and I’ll be beside you all the way OK?” he stroked her face gently.
“I do want our child Chakotay, I do” she answered, starting to cry again.
“Then let’s wipe those tears away and go see the Doc” he said to her, wiping her face.
The Doctor confirmed the pregnancy with a huge smile on his face. Kathryn and Chakotay held hands throughout the visit. When it was time for her first scan, they were side by side again, still holding hands. They seemed to hold hands throughout the whole pregnancy. When she was ill at the start, Chakotay held her head as she was sick, gently rubbing her back and cleaning her up afterwards. He was there when a few stray nightmares resurfaced and later when she grew too big to bend down, he was there with back rubs and foot massages, fetching and carrying. When she finally went into labour, he was beside her, holding her hand again and whispering love and encouragement.
The only time she let go of his hands was when she asked him to be the one, under the Doctor’s instructions, to deliver their child. Chakotay had never felt so much love for his wife than he did at that moment. It was such a wonderful thing for her to suggest. Tears flooded his face as he gently eased their son into the world.
“Kolopek” she said. “I want our son to know his heritage.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes love, I’m sure. How do you feel about Kolopek Edward?” she asked. She was exhausted but the happiness of the moment was giving her a second wind.
“Perfect” he replied.
They lay together on the biobed, cradling their new son for some time. They had never felt so happy. “We did it love” Chakotay told her. “We got it all back. We won.”
She smiled tiredly at him. “Yes love we did. It’s true. Something can only be taken away from you if you let it. We got it all back because we never lost it.”
An equally loud cheer went up over the whole ship when the Doctor announced the latest arrival to the Voyager clan, in fact half the Delta Quadrant probably heard it. Certainly Kathryn and Chakotay heard it, even the baby seemed to have heard it.
This loving family shared a kiss together then fell asleep. Everything was in its proper place. Kathryn and Chakotay were in each other’s arms. Their son was between them. The past was behind them and the future lay ahead, beckoning them. What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.